DT 26497 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26497

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26497

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Giovanni has delivered a very entertaining puzzle today. Let us know how you liked it in a comment.
If you want to see an answer highlight the space between the brackets under the clue.

Across Clues

1a  Sunglasses but no sun initially? Hell! (5)
{HADES} – an informal word for sunglasses loses its first S(un).

4a  One vehicle and another taking time at back of hospital (8)
{HANDCART} – a non-motorised vehicle for transporting goods is constructed from AND, a vehicle with a motor and T(ime), all following (at back of) H(ospital). The juxtaposition of 1a and 4a cannot be accidental, there being a well-known idiomatic phrase “to go to 1a in a 4a”. I spent far too much time this morning (when I should have been writing the blog) trying the find the derivation of this phrase. I’d always assumed that it dated from the time of the plague, but there is no consensus on this. Interestingly, in a medieval stained-glass window in Fairford in Gloucestershire the devil is depicted using this conveyance for his clients (see below).

8a  Fortifications giving engineers suspicions (8)
{REDOUBTS} – these fortifications are a charade of the abbreviation for the Royal Engineers and a synonym for suspicions.

9a  Fabulous activity for a vandal? (8)
{SMASHING} – double definition.

11a  Senior worker terribly nice to have on board (7)
{ANCIENT} – an adjective meaning elderly or senior is the usual working insect with an anagram (terribly) of NICE inside (on board).

13a  Makes new recording of rock band with flowery group backing (9)
{REMASTERS} – the definition is makes new recording. Start with a rock band and add (backing) the name of a group of flowers which includes Michaelmas daisies.

15a  Send comic man Don out as deputy to the boss (6-2-7)
{SECOND-IN-COMMAND} – an anagram (out) of SEND COMIC MAN DON produces a deputy. Giovanni is having a bit of fun with his real name.

18a  Reversing vehicle, one going into French river — transport going under! (9)
{SUBMARINE} – reverse a public service vehicle then insert I (one) into a French river which is a tributary of the Seine and was the site of two battles in WWI. The resulting transport goes under the waves.

21a  About 50, one naughty female posing as 23! (7)
{RELIEVE} – a verb which is a synonym of 23d is a charade of a preposition meaning about, the Roman numeral for fifty, I (one) and the naughty fruit picker from Genesis.

Three professionals found themselves thrown together on a train journey and they got to arguing about which of their professions was the oldest.
“I’m a surgeon” said the first, “and right at the beginning of Genesis God took a rib from Adam and made Eve. That was obviously a surgical operation, so my profession is the oldest”.
“No.” said the second, “Even earlier in Genesis it says that out of chaos God created the heavens and the earth. That was obviously a civil engineering job, and I’m a Civil Engineer so my profession is the oldest”.
“I’m an IT Consultant.” said the third. “Who do you think was responsible for the chaos?”.

22a  Vandalism with a bottle circumvented by wise man (8)
{SABOTAGE} – vandalism (originally involving the 9a of industrial machinery) is made from A and an abbreviation for bottle which is surrounded (circumvented) by a wise man.

24a  Great food from a mum — brother is about to tuck in (8)
{AMBROSIA} – the food of the Greek gods (alternatively tins of custard and creamed rice – “Devon knows how they make it so creamy”) is constructed from A and an affectionate term for mother with an abbreviation for brother and IS reversed (about) inside (to tuck in).

25a  Joint accommodation is what one offers desk worker (8)
{KNEEHOLE} – cryptic definition of the space under one’s desk.

26a  Things hurting — therefore repose no end (5)
{SORES} – a synonym for therefore is followed by another word for repose without its final T (no end).

Down Clues

1d  They offer special treatment — blister has dissipated (10)
{HERBALISTS} – an anagram (dissipated) of BLISTER HAS gives us practitioners of a form of alternative medicine.

2d  Like teacher, one about to be faced with ‘Didn’t do nothing!’ (8)
{DIDACTIC} – the definition is like teacher. I (one) and C (circa, about) are preceded (faced) with a positive way (3,3) of saying “didn’t do nothing”.

3d  Stretch over to grab gold church vessel (8)
{SAUCEPAN} – a verb meaning to stretch over or extend across includes (to grab) the chemical symbol for gold and an abbreviation for church to make a vessel.

4d  The man’s son gives a cry of disapproval (4)
{HISS} – a possessive pronoun meaning belonging to a male is followed by S(on).

5d  One saint entertained by some French believers of a certain type (6)
{DEISTS} – these are people who believe in a supernatural being but not in any organised religion. Put I (one) and the abbreviation for saint inside (entertained by) the French word for some.

6d  A daughter evil — what can an agony aunt offer? (6)
{ADVICE} – what’s on offer is a charade of A, D(aughter) and a synonym for an evil.

7d  Grasp a small branch (4)
{TWIG} – double definition.

10d  Mister Michael taken for saint? An ape! (8)
{MIMICKER} – this is someone who imitates (an ape). Start with “mister” and include (taken) an abbreviated form of Michael in place of (for) the abbreviated saint. The surface here is not very smooth.

12d  Behind the barrier he hides (8)
{TRAILING} – the definition here is behind. THE is followed by a barrier or fence, then HE is removed (he hides).

14d  Bad lad’s bed’s stuffed with silver in transportable containers (10)
{SADDLEBAGS} – these are transportable containers. They’re an anagram (bad) of LAD’S BED’S with the chemical symbol for silver inserted (stuffed with).

16d  Ducks walk when crossing road (8)
{MALLARDS} – this is the commonest duck in the northern hemisphere, the male having a dark green head and white collar. Start with a sheltered walk or promenade and follow this with a synonym for when around (crossing) the abbreviation of road.

17d  Examiner giving some passes so reluctantly (8)
{ASSESSOR} – hidden (some) in the clue is an examiner.

19d  Graduate introducing Holy Writ, not one for gibberish (6)
{BABBLE} – an arts graduate precedes the holy book of Judaism and Christianity with the I removed (not one), resulting in gibberish.

20d  Join strike shortly before hour (6)
{ATTACH} – a verb meaning to strike or make an aggressive move is shorn of its final K (shortly) and this is followed by H(our) to make another verb, meaning to join.

22d  Throw out container (4)
{SACK} – double definition.

23d  What an artist needs mostly is no bother (4)
{EASE} – what an artist needs to support his canvas loses its final L (mostly). What remains is a noun meaning freedom from pain or disturbance (no bother).

I liked 24a, 25a and 12d today, but my favourite clue was 2d. Let us know what took your fancy in a comment.

The Quickie pun is {DAN} + {DEE} + {LINE} = {DANDELION}

71 comments on “DT 26497

  1. Nice joke Gazza at 21a. Pretty easy today especially for a Friday. I only got stuck a bit in the SW corner with 25a but pretty obvious when it dawned on me. Thanks again.

  2. Thanks to Giovanni for his second excellent (DT) puzzle this week, and to gazza for the notes.

  3. An enjoyable puzzle although there were a clue I was not overly keen on. 25a but still a pleasant end to the week.
    Thanks to G and G

  4. Gosh, nearly got free on that one. Just a few I didn’t understand and needed some help with. I’m surprised it’s rated as ***.

    Thanks to G&G. The glass at Fairford is magnificent. When I was there last summer, loads of people had taken binoculars with them, which is what I will do when I go there again; well worth a trip.

          1. I got a dozen or so straight off on the first read through and thought, oh 1* today! Then did quite a few more, made a big pot of soup, but couldn’t finish without a hint of three. Thought of ‘mimic’, but not ‘ker’

            How’s the dog?

                1. Thanks Kath and for your comments yesterday, apparently takes up to a week for the results to come back :)

  5. I really enjoyed this Xword. Thanks Gazza for the hints and Giovanni for a thoroughly entertaining challenge

  6. 26a was a big problem for me – mainly as I has SKIP in for 22d. D’oh. Very enjoyable puzzle today thanks for that and the hints.

  7. Good afternoon Gazza, have been held up by wellwishers ringing to see how ‘Angel’ is!! I am expecting lots of get well cards in the post! I found it once again a crossword of two halves with the right hand side going in fairly easily but then got well and truly stuck on the right hand side, finished eventually without the hints but needed plenty of ‘help’, last to go in 25a, as for 10d whoever uses that word?? surely the end ‘ker’ is never used

  8. Did it while waiting for car’s MOT with one eye on the disaster in Japan on TV. Very enjoyable puzzle. 10d,12d and 13a held me up at the end but got there before the car was ready. Missed the 1a and 4a link and 15a ref until I came here. Nice ones.

  9. Gazza – Ref 4a
    DOAS has this definition. ” To decline rapidly”- Amateurish, small sized dissipation of the kind indulged in, usuallly by the young, as protest against a disappointment or a frustration….

  10. Haven’t had a chance to look at this yet and we have friends from the bridge club coming this afternoon for a teams match so it will have to wait until evening – back late!

    BTW the other puzzle is highly recommended!

  11. Great start to the day – only 1* difficulty for me but definitely 4* entertainment, especially the 1a/4a link. No particular favourite clues, just good all round fun, thank you Giovanni. Thanks also to Gazza for the equally entertaining review.

    I recommend the ‘other’ puzzle too, even if it is a Friday-level experience.

  12. An excellent puzzle for a Friday. Only needed help on 25a. I’d got the first 4 letters, but struggled with the second 4 – the double unches didn’t help! The only other word I could think of was legroom, but it obviously didn’t fit. Otherwise, everything was nicely clued. Thanks to the two Gs..

  13. As several others above I found the SW corner a little more difficult than the rest. I also had 22d and 25 as my last pair, Best was 25 but also liked 1a 1d 4a 13 16 18 and 24. A fine puzzle -thanks to the setter.

  14. Nice one today! Enjoyed it enormously so pleasure factor **** and diff *** = average. SW corner was toughest for me with 25a in last.

    Fav clues: 21a, a real smoothie, 12d for its fine use of subtraction.

    Still struggling with two Toughie clues, otherwise the week is over as far as I am concerned ;-)

    Thanks to the Don and the Gazzers

  15. Am I the only person who has found this REALLY difficult? Ended up being unable to do so many that I was beginning to think that I must have got some wrong, but I hadn’t apart from 22d – although it didn’t quite fit the clue I had ‘sink’ but that didn’t affect 25a. Oh well – let’s hope that I’m just having an ‘off day’! Started off quite well too – did about half and then came to a grinding halt. Eventually gave in and read the hints with about six clues to go.
    Favourites – 1, 4 and 24a and 1, 2 and 3d.
    Hoping to improve tomorrow!
    With thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the very much more than usually needed hints! :sad:

    1. I found the left side of the puzzle really difficult Kath, after thinking it was going to be a good day, I also came to a halt and needed lots of ‘help’ to finish it

      1. Sorry. Patience is a virtue etc. I think I have it now anyway. A very rare Toughie solving for me.

                1. Put the long ones in [2 anagrams] and then its easy. I have to be careful as BD has a thing about discussing it here, although he did mention fish and chips yesterday.

                2. It seems that some people found the Toughie today quite difficult. I hadn’t expected that. It took me about the same time as the back page puzzle. There were several quite easy long clues (at least I thought so), and many of the clues could have been guessed without necessarily understanding the wordplay at first.

                  Everyone’s perception is different, though.

                  Sometimes, with a difficult puzzle, solving just one clue can give you enough checking letters to get a couple more, and it can snowball from there. It’s important to remember that the definition is usually at the start or the end of the clue. Clues that initially seem impenetrable are often much easier than they look.

                  There was a great clue in the Times today. Took me ages, but should have taken seconds:

                  PM greeting more ridiculous Nigerian leader loves to punch the thug (4,9)

                  {GOOD AFTERNOON}

                  1. Thanks Qix
                    I tried to explain this to Mary but she thought I was having a giggle.

  16. Finished work early today, so had a crack at this. Fairly difficult, I thought. Failed to see the ‘subtraction’ in 12d, though knew the answer must be right. Made it hard for myself by thinking ‘hesitant’ for 4a. Looked at the hint for 4a, then managed to finish. Thanks to the two Gs.

  17. Challenging in parts but achievable and therefore satisfying. Just as it should be for a back-pager. More of the same please. Thanks to Gx2.

  18. I would say that this was even a three-part puzzle today. I did about half very easily, found half of the rest challenging, but really got stuck after that and needed help to finish. Didn’t like 10d at all and need more practice solving clues like 12d. I had the right word for 16d but had trouble justifying it — surely the clue should mention ‘a’ road to be clear. Apart from those grumbles, I enjoyed it very much, especially 18a and 19d.
    So thanks to Giovanni and Gazza for a happy ending to the week. :-)

  19. After a mauling yesterday I actually enjoyed today – with the exception of 25a. Worked it out but have never heard of it. Also didn’t spot 17d as the indicator is new to my tender efforts.

    Thanks to the setter – most enjoyable.

  20. I’m a new boy both to the crossword and to this forum so please forgive my ignorance – but how on earth do you know who the compiler is? Is it a question of style?
    Loving the crossword, and the blog ( because I often need a little help). Pleased to see 25a and 10d caused some trouble for others today.

    1. Hi Horatio – welcome to the blog.
      Giovanni is nearly always the setter on Fridays (as he’s confirmed by many visits to the blog).

    2. Hi Horatio,
      Welcome! I asked a similar question when I first started looking at this blog. The answer that I got then was:-
      Monday – Rufus
      Tuesday – Shamus and others
      Wednesday – Jay
      Thursday – Ray T and others (more to add in a minute)
      Friday – Giovanni
      Saturday – Cephas
      Sunday – Virgilius
      Having been commenting on this blog (and ‘lurking’ for a bit longer before I dared post a comment) for almost a year now I have learnt a lot. It’s wonderful. Lots of very friendly, helpful, non-judgmental people. I can still only positively identify whether or not it is Ray T on a Thursday. His crosswords are characterised by a) something that sounds, on surface reading (as I have learnt to call it) a bit rude/risque or whatever you want to call it and b) all the clues in the quickie are singular word clues. The other thing that I have learnt is that I really can’t do Giovanni’s crosswords ie Fridays!!

      1. Hi Kath. Just to add a quick note to your good summary: The Saturday puzzle has, since before Christmas 2011, been shared between Cephas and A.N. Other on a weekly rotation. Tomorrow I believe that Cephas will be back with us.

        G’night All!

      2. Hi Kath
        You got that right but I think Cephas is alternating with a mysteron on Saturdays.
        Agree the Blog is great – I was a CC member a couple of years ago (if it had existed then) but in the interim I’ve learned more than I would believe possiblei!
        Managed today’s Toughie – how good is that? Don’t want to sound smug but just pointing out that it’s what the blog can do for you!

  21. Wow! Great puzzle from Giovanni – thanks muchly.
    10d for example – got the answer from the checkers but took a while to work out why!
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza. Fine day for me as we came 2nd in the bridge. Not bad for a Friday with a hangover!

  22. Many thanks to G and g. excellent stuff. I found this v hard today and in the end looked at a couple of hints. shhhhh. I thought 8 21 24 & 25a and 3 10d were tricky. hopefully just an off day.

    1. Oh good – you’re the first one, other than me, to have found this tricky – thought that it must be me!!

      1. Hey! Didn’t say I didn’t find it tricky – juat vey good!
        Well worth the effort even though I had to wait until evening to get at it!

  23. Had the family for dinner this evening so tackled this rather late. Found it to be one of The Don’s easier puzzles to solve.
    I liked 13a, 18a, 24a, 3d, 10d & 12d best.

    1. Bore da, Mary. Hace you done today’s yet? You will love 4d. Its what I keep doing!

  24. I didn’t really like today’s offering at all- I managed to get most of the answers form the definitions and intersecting letters but some of cryptic play was a little tough for me. However one only improves by tackling more and more difficult puzzles.

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